Saturday, January 8, 2011
As gamers, we think the pros of this model outweigh the cons:
Play on any OS (Mac, PC, Linux). Play from any computer (home or work) with cloud saved inventory, settings and progress. No install required: play instantly, without the game taking up any of your precious hard drive space. Patching is automatic. We can continuously add things like language support down the line.
We also consider this game to be a continuously supported service, not a static product that we're done with and then just send out into the world never to hear from again. Distributing it online allows us to check statistics for how people play and adjust the game accordingly. If enough people try to solve a puzzle in a way we didn't think of, or can't solve it at all, we can actually see that and act accordingly. This helps us make the game better.
Another factor is Piracy. We're only two people making this game and we don't have the financial backing of a publisher. We looked a lot at what had happened to Machinarium. They released the game as a single downloadable file and unfortunately got heavily pirated because of that. According to their estimation about 85-95% of the played copies where pirated versions, and though we're quite liberal about piracy, those numbers sound frankly depressing. That's was a situation we wanted to avoid. We hope you understand.
We don't limit how many computers you can play the game on or how many times you can install the game, which to us differentiates us from intrusive DRM-models.
The game requires an Internet connection because of the cloud save system and because the assets (things like background music and the rooms) are discreetly streamed in the background to minimize loading times. Without a connection they would simply fail to load. That raises the accessibility bar a bit, but players without Internet access are getting fewer and fewer every day.
These are some of the main reasons we went with online distribution. Is it too intrusive? Do you fear you might lose your game?
Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments.